buckwheat granola

While it's cold & snowy outside today, I'm feeling like making some warm goodies inside. This kind of weather always makes me want to try new recipes & bake. I think because that's always what we used to do as I was growing up. My mom is an amazing baker, so cold days were almost always baking days. 

I've been wanting to try to make my own granola for a while, so today I decided to give this one a try. I based it off a recipe from the back of the bag of Bob's Red Mill organic Buckwheat. It's super easy & to be honest...I want to eat it all! Oh so good...give it a try! All whole foods & plant based. This will be so great on top of my protein smoothie bowls!




buckwheat granola

1c Bob's Red Mill Buckwheat Groats

2c rolled oats

1c sliced almonds

1/2c coconut flakes

1/4c sunflower seeds

1/4c pumpkin seeds

1/2c agave or honey 

1/2c maple syrup

1/4c coconut oil

1/8c almond butter

1/2tsp cinnamon

1/2tsp salt

1tsp caramel extract {vanilla or maple would be great too}

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, combine buckwheat, oats, nuts & seeds. In a small saucepan combine honey, syrup, coconut oil, almond butter, cinnamon & salt. Bring to a boil & keep boiling steadily for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat & add extract. Pour the syrup mixture over the dry ingredients & mix well to coat everything. Spread on a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for a total of 30 minutes, stirring well about every 10 minutes. Cool & break into pieces. Add dried fruit if you'd like. Enjoy! {& try not to eat it all right away!}



Holding on. Letting go.

One of the most gratifying experiences I've had happened just a few months ago when I did my first sprint triathlon. I might even go so far as to say life changing, because that is truly how I felt in my heart that day. If you know any of my background, I have NEVER been an athlete. For most of my life I've been overweight and not fit. The first time I joined a gym in my life was about 3 years ago. And I've definitely never been an endurance athlete. But, I was looking to take on a new challenge, a goal, something that would get me out of the world of focusing on how I could transform my body, but on performance. So I looked into some different things, took some suggestions and, crazily, signed up for a sprint triathlon. Now, over the weeks that followed, I bought a road bike, I bought a fresh pair of running shoes & a training suit.

Now, I've ran and biked before, so I could imagine being okay with that. But the swim? I knew little to nothing besides watching my kids at their swimming lessons and the YouTube videos I watched and articles I read. But I started. It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. I could swim to the end of the 25 yard pool at the gym, stop and have to rest because my heart rate was so high & then start again to the other end. All with my head above the water. Because I had something that kept me from putting my face in the water, being able to breathe and not panic. I know there is nothing to be afraid of, but I just couldn't get past it. I was able to get some help at a weekend away at a triathlon clinic, thankfully, which helped immensely. But I still struggled in the weeks leading up to the race. I know now, most of it was in my head. 

The Friday before the race, I traveled to the location in the afternoon, registered, got my packet and then went to check out the lake where we'd be swimming 500 yards the next day. When I walked out to the lake, I think I said "oh shit, that's a lot of water". I know, genius. Immediate doubt that I could do this went to my head. But, I'm also stubborn, and wanted to prove to myself that I could do this from the start. So I tried that self talk that I'd done over and over since I started training as I drove back to the hotel. 

When Saturday morning came, I was nervous, excited and just READY to do it. I still had doubts, but I was determined. As the time came to travel to set up my transitions and to the swim course, I felt calm. I mean, I was doing this, as crazy as it seemed. My husband and my daughter Lydia were there to watch and cheer me on. As I lined up with the {slowest} group of swimmers to get ready to jump in, two by two, I again started with my internal dialogue of encouragement to myself. Walking onto the dock, to the end and hearing my daughter yell a few times "go mom!" and jumping in. The water was deep and warm. It took a bit for me to get my bearings without being able to touch anything around me or my feet to the bottom. And I started swimming. Tried putting my face in the water and swimming. And panicked. And started swimming with my face out of the water. My heart rate increasing way to quickly, tried to calm myself and put my face in the water again to swim. Somehow I just felt I couldn't do it. So I tried to swim again, face out of the water. I was getting tired way to quickly. Then I looked around, saw the first buoy and how far away it still was and panicked again. I was having a hard time controlling my heart rate and my breathing. Basically I just freaked the hell out. So I waved for the support canoe. And yelled. And waved. In succession several times. People from the shore were yelling trying to get there attention. Finally, they made their way to me. They threw me a float, and I rested there for a while. I couldn't grab the boat or get into the boat without getting disqualified, but I can tell you, I thought about getting in that damn boat about a dozen times while catching my breath and trying to talk myself into swimming again. I wanted to quit. So badly. It would have been so easy. But, as I hung on, I just kept thinking of every positive word that had come into my head that week, the day before and that morning. Most of all, I thought of my daughter, watching from the shore. Knowing she was there watching meant so much to me. And I KNEW in my heart I couldn't let her see me quit. Knowing that she'd seen me work so hard to prepare for this and how I was challenging myself, I knew I needed to show her I would push through. I needed that for myself, too. It was the fear, the thoughts taking over that were really pulling me down. Deep down I knew that I had it in me what I needed to continue. 

So, I let go. And I started swimming. It was such a challenge. And hard. I struggled. A lot. But, I kept going. However I needed to swim to get to where I was going. I came to the first buoy, and then the second. All the while trying to repeat positivity in my head, reminding myself that Lydia was watching the entire time. Saying to myself over and over...you have to do this, no matter how I do or how long it takes, I will finish this. And can you believe, eventually, I ran {okay more like walked} out of the water onto the shore and into the first transition. I was the last one out of the water. But I didn't care. Because I was out of the water, finally. And Lydia was there watching and cheering for me again. {I didn't realize until later that there were several of the family members of other athletes that stayed to see me finish as well.}

After that I knew that if I got out of that swim, I was going to finish that whole damn triathlon, no matter what. It was entire new wave of determination and stubbornness. And you know what? I did. The entire f*cking thing. The swim. The bike. The run. And it was AMAZING. And hard. And gratifying. Challenging. And exhilarating mixed with exhausting. One of the best experiences I've ever had. And it was ME who did that. My body, mind and headstrong spirit. The person that would have never pushed herself beyond what's comfortable just 5 years ago. That beautiful spot that I've found where I feel the most "ME". I'm so happy I did. And that Lydia saw me push through it all. And she came across the finish line with me. 

Know that you can do anything. No matter what that looks like to anyone else. Be strong. Be stubborn. Be confident. Be smart. BE YOU. That what's beautiful. Challenge yourself. Because you CAN. 


The Spark


People often ask what is was that made me finally decide to lose weight, eat healthier & be more active. I've always given more of a generic answer like "I just decided one day I didn't want to feel the way I did anymore." or "I decided to stop wishing for what I wanted, stopped making excuses and went after it." While both of those hold truth for me, something I've never really told anyone, but kept more to myself was the real spark, the real catalyst for my changes.


One day I was playing with outside without daughter Lydia, who was between one and two at the time. She was her high energy, busy self, in her dress with her pale blonde hair and blue eyes. Always with that determined look and way about her. And it struck me. I loved her personality. However "little" she was her personality and resolve to go after what she wanted, even at that she, was BIG and strong. And I didn't want her to lose that. Because I don't remember having that growing up. That's when I knew. Knew I needed to make changes in myself. I wanted have that determination too and to show her that example from myself as she was growing. We all know growing up is hard, and you can end up losing your personality, the real you, in favor of what other people say is how you should be. It gets buried and we forget. I wanted to show her to grow up and stand up for who she is, what she wants and keep that determination strong no matter who says she shouldn't be that way. That women can be strong, and fit, and break the boundaries of what is set around them. To be different. And that's okay. No matter if it is different to everyone around you & they don't understand why you do it or who you are.


So that's what I did. Small steps. I joined weight watchers and lost about 50 with changes I made through that. Then I decided to make changes on my own to stop my unhealthy habits. Cutting out the diet sofa. The candy. Eating more whole foods, less processed & packaged. Drinking more water. Just eating better. I began moving more. I started running. Eventually I joined a gym for the first time in my 39 years. Started lifting weights. Changing the way my body looked, getting stronger. Prepping and competing in a body building bikini competition at almost 40 that tested my patience, my confidence. Putting me way beyond what I was comfortable with. And just a few months ago, training for and completing my first sprint triathlon. Something I NEVER imagined doing or that I could do. It was a huge test of my abilities as an athlete, my resolve. Proving to myself that my doubts in my abilities are wrong. All this made a huge difference in how I felt physically and mentally. In my heart and mind. And my confidence was slowly growing. Increasing. Letting my kids see that it was hard, but I wouldn't let that stop me. Setting an example for my kids as they grow. Making it okay to let them show they are unique individuals and they don't need to mold into what everyone surrounding them is.


So, all along it's been more than just weight loss. It's more about the body changes. The meaning has transformed along the path, just as I have internally and externally. It's about being stronger, body and mind. More independent. Being honest with myself and others how I think, how I feel. Pushing my boundaries of what I thought was possible. Believing in myself and what I feel in my soul. Not moving with the masses and often on my own because I can no longer follow or believe what isn't truly meant for me. And I hope Lydia and my boys can do the same. It's an incredible, scary, empowering feeling.

This is not temporary

12.18.14. Yep, that was me. My outside appearance has changed ALOT, obviously. But I'm still surprised when I think back when looking at these before photos. Not just the outside, but knowing my attitude has changed so much. I've always been a happy & positive person, but what has been my biggest change is that the girl in the before photo always wanted to lose weight & be a healthier person...but would always give up before I got there. I felt sorry for myself, thought I could NEVER be the person I am now & let that get in the way of what I really wanted. It was too hard. But I've spent over 5 years working to get to where I am now. Lots of stops & starts. Difference is...I keep going. I am driven to keep pushing myself, working on myself-inside & out, feeling better, healthier, trying to love all the parts of me, regardless of what flaws I still see. Because it WAS hard as hell to get here. But that's ok...I'm stronger because of it. Don't be afraid of struggling, overcoming fears & taking your time. It's your life, your body. This is not temporary.




12.14.14 ---Take care if your body...it's the only place you have to live--- I've been really focusing these last few weeks on some new things that I've been thinking of for a while. A different lifting routine based off of a program from Maps Anabolic. Full body days instead of splits. Really loving it. I've also been eating a vegetarian type diet & am actually already  loving how it's making me feel. I feel like I already eat quite healthily with mostly whole foods, but I've definitely upped my game this week. My husband has even joined in the last few days after we watched forks over knives last weekend together. Making our 40s feel & look better than we did in our 20s


Forks Over Knives

12.06.14. What an eye opener. Wow. We watched this for the first time the other night. I had heard about this documentary recently & when I saw it was on Netflix, I had to watch. I always love gaining more insight into nutrition and hearing different views. Definitely worth the watch if you're interested in what you feed your body and how it affects your health. 


garlic chicken pita pizza

Earlier this year I made a trip to Utah to see my ladies from the online digi shop I sell at. The first night, we ate at this awesome restaurant & I had a garlic chicken pizza. Tons of garlic & it was drizzled with balsamic glaze. {drool} I tried to re-create it the other night & I think it was pretty dang good.

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This was so easy! Here's the recipe: 

Garlic Chicken Pita Pizza

1 low carb pita

Grilled or baked chicken breast

Minced garlic

Shredded romano cheese

Feta cheese crumbles

Balsamic glaze

Lay the pita on a baking sheet or baking stone. Spread the pita with the garlic. Add the shredded chicken on top. Sprinkle with a little romano & feta. Bake for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees in the oven. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Cut like a pizza & EAT PIZZ!


The other day... I turned 39. This is somewhat annoying to me. Not only am I inching to the big 4-0, but I'm realizing I wasted so much time being unhealthy. But, I'm gonna keep working hard & am happy to say I feel & {hopefully} look the best I ever have. IN.MY.LIFE. I didn't have this body at 19. I didn't have it at 29. But now, I'm enjoying the rewards of eating healthy, being fit, taking care of myself. It's most definitely my birthday present to ME. If you're thinking about starting... stop thinking. Start doing. You won't be sorry.

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gingerbread mugcake

Cake. Who doesn't love it? I've been testing out a few healthy recipes from some IG feeds recently. Some good, some bad... this one was awesome! So I thought I'd share.

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1/2c ground oats {oatmeal ground to flour in a blender} 

1T coconut flour

1tsp baking powder

2 egg whites

2T unsweetened applesauce

1T greek yogurt

2.5T almond milk

1.5 packets stevia

1T vanilla extract

2tsp pumpkin pie spice

Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a greased mug or bowl. Microwave for 1.5 to 2 minutes. 


1T higher protein cream cheese

2T cottage cheese

1T almond butter

1/3 scoop vanilla whey

1T sugar free maple syrup

Flip cake onto a plate, drizzle icing on top, add pecans if you'd like. EAT CAKE! 

Plank challenge

Thought I'd show you one of the challenges I'm doing this month. I'm also doing a burpee challenge {omg}. Not sure what I was thinking when I agreed to this. Oh yeh, I'm wanting to see some big changes by my birthday come November. Anyway, I'm roughly at my halfway point now. Another thing I'm trying to incorporate is more running. It really seems to help in leaning things up. I've started working with kettleballs as well & am feeling that for sure! Changing things up is definitely a way to make progress happen.


Currently eating | chicken & spinach

I thought I'd give you a little peek into what I'm currently eating a lot of. Chicken is happening quite often. It's low fat, a great source of protein & is pretty versatile. It's fairly inexpensive & I can grill or bake several at once to be able to use later. I'm also eating a good deal of spinach. Not only for salads, but I'm also putting it into my post workout shakes as well {really you can't even taste it}. So here's the lowdown: spinach & chicken are great with cashews, pepitas, craisins, blueberries, apples, quinoa, brown rice, avacado, cherry tomatoes, feta, mix it all together for a cold salad, in a pan heated through, add a little low sodium teriyaki, or throw in a low carb tortilla. I'm loving a balsamic vinaigrette along with everything as well. Try out any combo you like. These are just a few ideas.


3 months

Last week I reached the 3 month mark since I took my first before pics & posted them to my Instagram. It seems like so long ago & like no time at all at the same time. I'm excited about the changes. I'm down 10 lbs & my body fat has dropped. The most exciting thing is how my clothes are fitting. Pants & shirts are needing replacing. Oh & I've been trying on dresses for a wedding...& new jeans. I'm fitting in sizes I've never ever been in before. That said, it hasn't been easy. You have to invest the time & effort into both your eating & your workouts. It takes a lot of juggling to figure out what's working for your body. I'm still learning new ways, new foods, new exercises to challenge me & my body to change. It's addicting when you see these changes & seeing them in the photos is a great incentive to keep going. {new smaller clothes is a pretty great reason too}


Pumpkin pie proyo

Most mornings my breakfasts consist of Greek yogurt, protein powder, fruit & muesli. Oh & coffee...can't forget about that ;) It's filling & a great way to start my day. Yesterday I was looking to mix things up a little & tried this interesting concoction.
Pumpkin Pie Proyo
1/8-1/4c Lowfat cottage cheese
3/4c nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 scoop vanilla whey
2T pumpkin
1/2-1tsp pumpkin pie spice
Mix this all together, then add whatever you'd like. I added a tsp chia & about a 1/4c Bob's Red Mill Muesli. Yum!


favorite snacks

It seems I'm in the car a lot lately, taking kids here, picking them up there, running errands. Whatever. Plus, with trying to eat several times a day instead of just at meal times, I need good quality snacks to fill in those holes. I'm still not a master at it yet & I'm figuring out a lot as a I go on, either by trial & error or good suggestions from friends who are in the same boat. If I leave the house, though, I definitely have something with me in my purse or car. 

apple, cashews, quest bar

apple, cashews, quest bar

justin's almond butter

justin's almond butter

greek yogurt, Kind bar, apple, cold chicken

greek yogurt, Kind bar, apple, cold chicken

So, depending on if we're all out together or if I'm on my own, of course, I can grab a yogurt to eat if someone else is driving. Otherwise, I generally stick to fruit like apples or bananans, nuts or seeds {cashews, almonds, pepitas} , protein bars like Kind Bars, Quest Bars or Zone Bars. The Zone bars are the least healthy, not really clean at all, but if you keep it clean otherwise, here & there it's ok to have that every once in a while. Plus, the Strawberry Yogurt ones... so good. Sometimes if I have some cooked chicken pieces in the fridge & it's around lunch when I'm running out I'll bring that too. The Justin's Almond Butter is amazing & you can usually find these packets at the grocery store. They're great for on the go. I always, always bring my big water bottle with me full of ice water. So there's really no excuse to not eat healthy. Be prepared & have good stuff on hand & it becomes second nature. Take time to take care of you.

8 weeks

So today marks 8 weeks ago that I started photo documenting my progress of clean eating + exercise. It's been amazing. I'm still learning what works, what doesn't. I feel awesome, I'm seeing changes & am definitely determined. I can't wait to see where the next 8 weeks bring me. I've been so lucky to find some wonderful people to help & encourage me along the way. Thank you for all of you who have been there & I hope that somehow I'm encouraging you as well. 

before {left} 7.18.13 155lbs | today {right} 9.18.13 148lbs

before {left} 7.18.13 155lbs | today {right} 9.18.13 148lbs

I may not be seeing tons of movement on the scale, but I'm definitely seeing the changes in my photos. I never imagined 8 weeks ago when I took those photos I'd see what I'm seeing now. The key is to start. Just start. You won't regret it. I promise.

lemon blueberry baked oatmeal

So, I've recently found some freaking awesome feeds to follow on Instagram that give all kinds of fitness, clean eating & inspirational information. One of my favorite food Instagram pages to grab ideas from is @missk_j6. I've tried 2 of her baked oatmeal recipes & they're both soooo good! Truthfully, I'd eat them for breakfast or dessert... maybe another meal in between. I bake them in a big mug & I haven't been able to finish one yet. I think next time, I'll split it into 2 & share. This one's my favorite right now.

lemon blueberry baked oatmeal

lemon blueberry baked oatmeal

Lemon Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

based on a recipe by @missk_j6 {IG} slightly modified

1/2 c rolled oats

1 egg white

1/8 c unsweetened apple sauce

1/8 c cottage cheese

2 tsp raw honey

2 T sugar free maple syrup

1 T lemon juice

1/4 tsp bkg powder

1/4 c blueberries

1 tsp coconut flour

1 T almond butter

Mix all ingredients except the almond butter & coconut flour together. Grease mug or small oven dish with coconut oil. Add oat mixture & sprinkle top with coconut flour. Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Enjoy warm with almond butter.  


are you up for a challenge?

So, I was wanting to come up with a challenge for September & hoping some of you would like to tag along. I was thinking along the lines of a squat challenge, since one of my goals is to work on that back side. Of course, the first of September came & I still hadn't put it together. I found this one from Tribe Sports today & thought it was a great one!  

image via tribesports.com

image via tribesports.com

So what do you think? Are you up for the challenge?  I plan on making up my first 2 missed days today, along with the day 3 workout. Join in any time!

daily routine | beauty

I'm probably the last person to ask in regards to "beauty". I do love makeup, hair products & am not too shy about changing up my hair frequently. But, I don't like to spend a lot of money on things I won't use. I've found many of my daily go to items through things like Birchbox or, more recently Ipsy. {both are monthly mailings of beauty products}. So, I thought I'd share with you.


So upper left, is me, of course. Fresh makeup. Slept in hair.   I don't wear a lot of makeup, I think I look ridiculous if I do, so I keep it pretty natural. That said, I do NOT have perfect skin. At all. Over the last several months I've found a facial wash I love {DDF Brightening Cleanser}  . I've been blessed with my mom's skin, it seems, lots of hyperpigmentation & this seems to even it somewhat & leaves my skin in an even tone, instead of those spots being dry. On a whim a while back I bought this BioOil at WalMart, thinking I'd try it on my skin where I have scars & stretch marks. I'm not sure why, but a tried it on my face. I loved it & just kept using it. Ok, so basically, over the last 6ish months I've been using it... no breakouts. This is HUGE for me.  Another plus: use it on a sunburn... no peeling {at least in my experience}.

On to makeup. I found this bb cream through my Birchbox.  It's from Boscia. I like BB cream because it's not not heavy, hardly feels like I have it on & it adjusts perfectly to my skin tone. Concealer has always been a tough one for me. It usually seems to thick & ends up making my wrinkles way more apparent than I'd like. Recently I've found this one at Target from Neutrogena. It's called Healthy Skin Brightening Eye Perfector. It has a brush that you twist & the goodness comes out onto it. Not too thick. Not too thin. I like my face to have a matte look & this seems to keep it pretty good for an entire day. I also found this at Target from L'oreal Hyrdra Perfecte Perfecting Loose Powder. This Cheek Stain! Oh my gosh, I received this in my Ipsy this month & have been using it ever since. Perfect for that little rosiness. City Color Cheek Stain - Pink. The eyeshadow was also either in a Birchbox or Ipsy bag. It's Make Bentonite Clay. A great base color that I wear about every day, sometimes I add to it, most days, I don't. The eyeliner is a cheapo from WalMart, not even sure what brand. Can't.Live.Without.My.Eyeliner! lol. The mascara is per-fekt lash perfection gel. I found this through Birchbox as well. I don't even know what it is, but I just love it so much more than anything else I've tried. Usually I finish off with some SoftLips. Sometimes some gloss or lip crayon over it.

Alrighty. Hair. I've had my hair short pixie-ish cut for over a year now & looooove it. It's not for everyone, but I've had several people compliment me & also have told me it suits my personality. Now, I have an older sister that was formerly a cosmetologist, so I constantly changed my hair & played with products growing up.  She's told me I'm partially blessed with good hair {aka it's thin, but with good body}. In the picture above, I took this morning. I had washed & went through to do my hair yesterday, so this is slept in, basically with my fingers fussing around with it, nothing else. My usual routine with it is wash, towel dry, add the salt spray allover. Let air dry partially. Blowdry with fingers {I hate using a brush}. Add some of the surf paste {not very much}, fuss it with my fingers. Spray a little of the Kenra finishing spray all over. done. I found the salt spray & surf paste at WalMart & the Kenra I buy from a friend's hair salon.

So, what's your daily beauty routine? Involved, time consuming? Simple & short? Any great products I should try out? I'd love to hear!

Measuring progress

I know a lot of people measure progress strictly by the scale. That's ok. I probably depend on the scale a little too much too. But, even if you're losing weight on the scale, how do you know your body is changing in the way you need it to? Optimally, you'd like to lose fat, not the precious muscle that you need to make that newly thin body look healthy, toned & with {minimal} jiggle. I should probably take my measurements, but somehow I take them once & then by the next time, my tape has mysteriously disappeared. Hmm. Life with kids. Anyway, recently, on a friends IG feed I noticed he had a body fat measuring tool. I really had no idea they existed, thought it was something you had to have a trainer or doctor take for you. I ordered mine off Amazon {one of my favorite places}, asked some stupid questions {I'm clueless} & when it arrived a few days later, took my first reading.

I  really had no clue what I'd be. Hoping for under 30% dreaming of about 20%. Ha. I'm on the shorter side, curvy & tend to gather pudge all over. So, the reading was ok. I know I want to be in the low 20s. 26% puts me about mid-range of normal for my age group {20-39}. Eh. Not bad, but I know I have lots a fluff yet. You see, I barely, if at all exercised when I was losing a large portion of my weight. So, I might be making up for lost time here.

A little over a week later, I took another reading. 25.3. I was excited...I've been putting in the work in regards to exercise & eating. This is showing I'm moving in the right direction. This motivates me to keep pushing myself & thinking I could just get to that 20%. I'm definitely seeing & feeling the differences too. I can feel {& sometimes see} the muscle in my legs, abs & arms. I can tell I'm losing the fat & gaining the muscle.

150.4 | 25.3% 

150.4 | 25.3% 

So, that's my "this is where I'm at" photo as of 8.25. Every Sunday I post my progress on my IG feed {click on the bottom of my site on the little IG icon to follow me}. Initially I was die hard on trying to get rid of that mush right above my c-section scars, & it's definitely reducing, I'm not sure if it will completely go away. But I'm excited for the changes I'm seeing in other parts that I wasn't so focused on... things I didn't think I could change.


Here's to kickin' that voice in the a$$ . If I can do it, so can you. xo Robyn

>>>If you want to find one of the BF calculators I show above, you can go HERE <<<